The Ultimate 80s Medley: A Nostalgia-Inducing Performance of A‑Ha, Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, Van Halen & More

The last time we checked in with Germany’s own Mar­tin Miller Ses­sion Band, they dropped a love­ly cov­er of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album, one that bal­anced all the bits you know by heart with enough of their own iden­ti­ty to make it jump off your YouTube screen.

Now they’re back with a new ses­sion in the age of COVID–hence a few of them wear­ing masks–to run through a tight 26 min­utes of 1980s songs in a med­ley that will have your toes a’tappin’.

Now, the selec­tion does tend toward the rock side, but the Miller Ses­sion band are set up that way, with a sol­id rhythm sec­tion in drum­mer Felix Lehrmann and Ben­ni Jud on bass. Lehrmann cer­tain­ly played *more* drums than the min­i­mal­ist Nick Mason on their Pink Floyd trib­ute–the YouTube com­ments called him out a bit too much on that–but here it’s all good. If any­thing some of the ‘80s hits had a bit too much pro­grammed drums, and they liv­en up the expe­ri­ence. The spe­cial guest this time is Michal Skul­s­ki, play­ing sax on “Sledge­ham­mer”.

Of course, your mileage may vary with this playlist, as there are songs here that I dear­ly love (“Every­body Wants to Rule the World,” “Enjoy the Silence”) and ones that I could live with­out (“The Final Count­down, “Eye of the Tiger”), and that’s all about taste, whether you went to high school in the 1980s, or were born dur­ing it, and your repeat­ed expo­sure ad nau­se­um to these tunes. You might be glad about the bits they leave in, or dis­grun­tled over the sec­tions they leave out (Miller improvs his own solo to the Tears for Fears song, but if you ask me, that orig­i­nal solo by Roland Orz­a­bal and then Neil Tay­lor is one of the best from that entire decade, and ‘80s pop real­ly didn’t *have* gui­tar solos).

But any band that decides to have a go at “Take On Me” bet­ter have those octave jump­ing pipes. Miller, I’m glad to say, does, chan­nel­ing his inner Ron­nie Dio to do so. And Mar­ius Leicht’s organ solo is actu­al­ly an improve­ment on the orig­i­nal.

How­ev­er, I must point out that the finale, Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” is not an ‘80s song. As any Mode fan will tell you, the sin­gle came out in ear­ly 1990. (I was *there* mannn, it was a total­ly dif­fer­ent decade!) Still, the Mar­tin Miller Ses­sion Band real­ly get into this one, break­ing the song down and build­ing it back up again for a tremen­dous fin­ish.

It may not be the “ulti­mate” ‘80s med­ley, but is *an* ‘80s med­ley and a damn good one too.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Dis­cov­er Rare 1980s CDs by Lou Reed, Devo & Talk­ing Heads That Com­bined Music with Com­put­er Graph­ics

The Inter­net Archive Hosts 20,000 VHS Record­ings of Pop Cul­ture from the 1980s & 1990s: Enter the VHS Vault

How the Yama­ha DX7 Dig­i­tal Syn­the­siz­er Defined the Sound of 1980s Music

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the Notes from the Shed pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

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